“I run in the path of your commands for you have set my heart free.” Ps. 119:32
What separates Christianity from all other world religions is the fact that man is not enslaved to a merit-based system where performance determines favor.
Every other religion seeks to reach up to God and grasp hold of Him through man’s efforts. Christianity is the only religion where God reaches down to man and the Christian life is about accepting this amazing gift of grace. Although we may claim to believe this, sometimes we forget it and we buy into bumper-sticker theology– “Jesus is coming back. Everybody look busy!”
As Christians, why are we prone to think we can DO anything to change God’s love for us? It’s a trap. Even going to church, reading our Bible and attending a Bible study- all good things by the way- can turn into duties where we seek to earn His favor. We have these lists of things, subconscious or not, that pull us into a performance-based relationship with Jesus and we try to add to the finished work of the Cross.
I want to remind you of a central truth. God cannot love you any more or any less on any given day. His infinite love was fully expressed when He sent His Son to die for you and for me. Our job is to believe and walk in this truth. This doesn’t mean that God is always pleased with our actions. We are still sinners after all; however, when we fall into believing we have to add to what was accomplished on the Cross we become legalists.
Christ did it ALL so we have only one proper response- to love Him in return. And how do we show our love? 1 John 5:3 says “…This is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome.” So loving Christ leads to obedience and obedience leads to freedom. No wonder the author of this psalm in the verse above would say that it was his joy to run obediently. It was simply an overflow of his heart.
Running obediently is living by God’s Word. The Bible isn’t a long list of do’s or don’ts but the Lord’s perfect guide to freedom. Our response to Him should include attending church, reading and studying our Bible but we do those things because it is our joy to know the Lord more fully and grow in our understanding of who He is, not because we are trying to earn His favor or our salvation. As a side note, I am inspired by Tammy’s story of finding freedom as she began to understand the truth in Jesus.
I am not a runner but I see why people love to run- the breeze in your face and freedom, just you and the path. I picture the author of this psalm running like Eric Liddell from Chariots of Fire with a smile on his face giving it everything he’s got. Eric Liddell said that when he ran he felt God’s pleasure. Part of that was because God made him fast, but it was also because he was free to run in obedience to God’s commands because He knew Jesus.
I pray that today you are living free FROM a performance-based belief system and free TO experience the joy that comes from accepting what Christ did for you. I’ll see you on the path (walking fast, but maybe not running.) Cue Chariots of Fire music.